Appropriate Limits of Science in the Formation of Public PolicyMaureen Condic
Science and technology are increasingly the subject of legis- lative and policy decisions. These topics are frequently attended by considerable disagreement and public debate. Often, the opinions and recommendations of scientific experts contrast viv- idly with the opinions of many Americans, leaving policy makers with no clear consensus on how to proceed. What are the appro- priate limits of scientific testimony in the formation of public pol- icy? How are decisions regarding scientific issues to be justly made and what considerations must be taken into account when evaluating the opinions and information provided by scientific experts? The utility of scientific testimony depends critically on the nature of the decision at hand and is limited both by the culture of science and the personality traits of scientists.